Rafale Fighter Jet

UPSC Current affairs - E-NAM Platform

Rafale Fighter Jet



  • The marine version of the Rafale fighter jet was recently tested on INS Vikrant. The test conducted from the aircraft carrier was successful.


About the test:

  • The test was conducted to check on the take-off of Rafale jet from aircraft carrier. It was successful. The INS Vikrant aircraft carrier uses a catapult launch. And the jets performed good in the launch.


Catapult launch:


  • The catapult is a device that allows the aircraft to take off in a small space. It is a kind of assisted take off. It gives extra inertia to the flight.
  • The normal runway flights obtain this energy through a speedy constant long run.
  • This long run is not possible in an aircraft carrier and thus a catapult launch.


Working of a Catapult launch?


  • The catapult accelerates the aircraft from 0 to 165 knots in just 2 to 3 seconds. In this system, high pressure steam is collected in the accumulators.
  • This steam is obtained from the nuclear reactors. After reaching desired steam pressure, the valves of the accumulators are cut off and the catapult is ready to fire.
  • The catapult launch system has a shuttle. The aircraft is attached to the carrier through this shuttle.
  • There are two pistons in the catapult.
  • These pistons hold the aircraft. When it is time, the steam in the accumulator is released.
  • This pushes the piston and releases the catapult. The flight is given a push. It gains inertia.


STOBAR – the other launch:


  • Apart from catapult launch, the STOBAR is a famous launching system.
  • It is predominantly used in Russia and China.
  • As India was highly reliant on Russia for its defence systems earlier, STOBARs are common in India as well.
  • However, India is now widening its defence trade, especially with US and Israel. Because of this, few of the recent aircraft carriers have catapult launches


What is assisted take off?


  • It is a system that helps the aircraft to enter into the air and start flying.
  • It is used when the weight of the aircraft is greater than the maximum take – off weight, insufficient runway length, insufficient power.


Source: THE HINDU.